Can’t Sign Up for Public Health Insurance in Germany? Here’s Why
woman in yellow overalls looking confused

Can’t Sign Up for Public Health Insurance in Germany? Here’s Why

You probably know by now that health insurance is compulsory for all residents in Germany. But it unfortunately isn’t always easy to get on a public plan. Here we explain why you might not be able to get covered by a gesetzliche Krankenkasse (public insurance fund)—and suggest a few other options.

Why can’t I get covered under public insurance?

Did you recently apply to TK or another public insurance fund only to be told that you can’t be covered? There are a few reasons this might be the case:

  • You are a self-employed person from a non-EU country (e.g. United States)
  • You have a “mini-job” with just a few hours that doesn’t require your employer to cover you.
  • You are be a student over 30 years old.

The bad news? If any of these applies to you, then there’s not much you can do about it. You’ll have to get a work contract and earn over 520 EUR per month to require your employer to cover you. Working student (Werkstudent) contracts do not count towards this and will not make you eligible for public insurance. Those contracts are free of social contributions, and your employer does not need to insure you under these circumstances.

The good news? You’ve got choices!

So what are my options?

Expat health insurance in Germany

  • Accepted as proof of insurance for your first visa application.
  • 72 euros/month, cancel anytime.
  • Accident and emergency coverage only.

We only recommend this if you are young, healthy and you will try for public insurance again when your situation changes. We do not recommend staying on this policy for long (the maximum duration is five years).

Sign Up for Expat Insurance

Private health insurance in Germany

  • Excellent long-term comprehensive healthcare.
  • Compliant with all visa office requirements.
  • Starting at 150 euros/month.

Private health insurance isn’t for everyone, but it can make sense in certain cases. Book an appointment below to learn more.

Sign Up for Private Insurance
Join the discussion

  • Thanks for the info,
    At the end of October I will be 5 years in Germany of which I was previously a student insured under private health insurance and still covered till 31/10/2020. After this, I will have to choose public health insurance because private health insurance will no longer cover me after five years. I need a longer period to enable extend my visa beyond October 2020.
    What do you advise I do and what are other alternatives in my case.
    I look forward to your response,

    Best regards,

    Collins Ogbeide

    • Hi Collins,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. Please contact our support team via our website. (You can send a message via the purple chat box in the lower right-hand corner of our homepage and they’ll get back to you within the day.)


  • I am a retired pensioner, a EU national and want to live in Germany where my sister and niece live. What is the most economical private health insurance I can get? Does the €70 a month insurance apply to pensioners?

  • Hi, I am retired professor(pensioned) from Puerto Rico(USA) and living in Germany. What would be the most economical health insurance that I can get in Germany which will be accepted by local service providers?